In the news today is an article about how Russian scientists took a flower from the Ice Age, perfectly preserved for thirty thousand years, and brought it back to life. It’s called the Silene stenophylla blossom, and it’s beautiful and improbable and astonishing. Naturally, upon hearing this uplifting news I immediately thought about how I could use it in my blog. I’ve come up with this: a list of what I do and don’t want future scientists to bring back from today’s civilization. I’ve divided it into categories:
Do bring back: Adele. Her voice is like fire, sometimes low and smoky, sometimes warm and comforting, then suddenly it engulfs the entire room. It will burn the pain right out of you if you let it. Leave out Britney (sorry, Britney), those kids who sang “MmmBop” (please leave them out) and the entire cast of High School Musical, but bring back Adele.
Don’t bring back: Clowns. They’re evil, they’re just evil. Man, they creep me out. They just stare at you, grinning, and for all you know they’re actually frowning or making kissy faces or plotting carnage. You just can’t tell. Never trust a clown. Don’t turn your back on them, don’t let them around your kids, and don’t bring them back!
Do bring back: the quirky, dorky genius. This guy can take many forms, and they’re all knee-wobblers. I’m partial to the scientist myself, but he could be a musician or a writer or a computer guy or a statistician. You can always tell this guy by how his eyes get really big and start shining when he gets onto his subject. It’s like the brilliance of the universe is locked inside him and he’s trying so hard to let it out. The best part is, unlike the annoying jerks detailed below, this guy only gets more awesome and knee-wobbling as time goes on. Totally worth bringing back.
Don’t bring back: the obnoxious frat boy. I usually end up getting hit on by these guys while I’m looking around for the quirky, dorky genius. They can be preppy, sporty, slacker, emo, or anything else. It’s not the style; the dorky geniuses can be any of those, too. It’s that asinine approach to the world, of arrogance, entitlement, and most of all, that ‘whatever’ attitude. That attitude just needs to die out. On the upside, you do get to watch them degenerate into washed-up shoulda-coulda-woulda’s later in life. Not enough to make up for it, though, and they’re still obnoxious even then. Don’t bring them back.
Do bring back: The Amazon rainforest. I’m sure the world will continue to change as dramatically in the future as it has in the past. We can’t quite seem to get it together enough to keep this massively awesome place around at the present juncture, but maybe if the scientists of tomorrow want to bring back more than just a flower, they could try for this. Maybe leave out the electric eels, poison dart frogs, and vampire bats. No, let’s keep the vampire bats. And the eels, they’re pretty cool. Oh, all right, bring back the poison dart frogs, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Don’t bring back: New Jersey. I know this one is going to cause some controversy, so I want to propose a compromise. I’m fully aware that Bruce Springsteen is from New Jersey, and so I’m willing to allow that perhaps we don’t need to wall off the state altogether. I’m even willing to celebrate Bon Jovi in a retro kind of way. But let’s agree not to bring back the Jersey Shore. We can all get together on that one, right?
Do bring back: Peanuts. Charlie Brown is eternal. Thirty thousand years from now, we can have specials like “It’s a Post-Nuclear-Apocalypse Wonderland, Charlie Brown!” Charlie Brown will still, thirty thousand years from now, be trying to kick the football, and Lucy will still yank it away from him. Snoopy will still live out back in his doghouse, although it may be a self-contained eco-pod canine unit, and children will still not understand a word their teachers say to them no matter how much technology advances. I’m not convinced that the Peanuts characters will ever fade away, but if they do, these are the characters to bring back.
Don’t bring back: Dora the Explorer. My entire family is united in our disdain for all things Dora. She’s a clueless idiot who tries to pass herself off as some sort of role model or educator for children, but her best friend is a monkey and she blinks in that creepy, vacant way while she’s waiting for a response. Why this has caught on to the extent it has is beyond my comprehension. Peanuts! Calvin and Hobbes! The Muppets! Not Dora. Let her empty-eyed oblivion drift into obscurity and eventual nonexistence, never to be resurrected.
Do bring back: Dude. There are so many fabulous slang terms out there to put a particular nuance of meaning to your phrase, but I don’t think any is so versatile as “dude.” It can be a question: Dude? It can be a pithy commentary: Dude! You can use it to refer to some random stranger, to your husband of fifty years, or just shorthand for a guy whose name you know but have forgotten. We’re going to forget the attempt to feminize it by adding “ette” on the end, and focus instead on the fact that it’s been turned into a rock song by Aerosmith, features prominently in that bastion of awesome slang terms, South Park, and of course, denotes the protagonist in the coolest movie of all time, The Big Lebowski. Even after 30,000 years, the dude will abide.
Don’t bring back: Like. There were so many runners up. Dawg. Junk. Baby Daddy. Gottsta. You know. Occupy the anything. But none of them cause that twitch in my eyelid that “like” does. I think I might hate it so much because it is so incredibly contagious. If one person says it, ten more start saying it. If a person says it once during a sentence, they say it five times during the next sentence. Eventually, you end up with conversations in which over fifty percent of the conversation is the word “like.” Don’t ever, ever bring this slang back. If anyone tries, take all necessary measures to stop them, because once it comes back, it will grow and multiply and become a cancer on our language, and there is no chemo in the world that can take it on.
So how many people did I offend? Are you offended because of what’s on the list or because of what I left off? Contributions? Castigation? Tell me what you think. Just don’t say it was, like, pretty good, or I’m sending you to New Jersey.